Washington, D.C. -- The Sparks, who were the first team to clinch a playoff spot this season, outhustled the Mystics in nearly every statistical category. They outshot the Mystics 55.7 percent to 46 percent, and battled for 14 more rebounds. Los Angeles was also more aggressive offensively, shooting 23 free throws compared to the Mystics 12.
Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker led the way for Los Angeles, scoring 24 and 18, respectively. Emma Meesseman led the way for Washington with 16.
"Their rotation was what we had to adjust to," Ogwumike said. "We had to find people on the back side and we were able to score that way."
"Our focus is on playing well," head coach Paul Agler said. "We just didn't feel like we were playing great team defense ... So it was important for us to get back and really play the team defense we need to play."
And while the Sparks have gotten off to a great start in the 2016 season, they are concentrating on remaining focused for the impending post-season.
"We've put ourselves in a good position in this first start of the season," Parker said following the team's win. "We've got a lot of work to do but now we have a break and we'll come back and get back to practicing, and get back trying to prepare. Obviously we have ten games left after the break and we want to finish strong."
Parker would score eight points in the first quarter, and while Meesseman worked to keep Washington afloat, Jantel Lavender took matters into her own hands. In the final three minutes of the quarter, Lavender recorded four points and assisted on a three pointer from Evgeniia Belyakova, to help give the Sparks a 27-16 lead.
Los Angeles continued to expose the Mystics for packing their defense into the paint by continuously hitting jumpers. The dynamic duo of Parker and Ogwumike, made Washington pay for costly defensive mistakes.
Parker added eight more points, including two three pointers, while Ogwumike chipped in five, to keep Washington at bay and send the Sparks into the locker room with a 12-point lead.
Frustration loomed large for Washington as the game wore on. Ogwumike scored 13 points in the third quarter alone to help the Sparks double their lead in the third quarter as they went up 75-49. While the Mystics would make a run and cut the Sparks lead to 15 at one point, it would prove too much to overcome.
When it comes to getting playoff ready, Ogwumike said it best:
"Rest. Sleep. That's what I plan on doing."